But wait there’s more – Paul Ridley 21/05/2023

Ephesians 1:15-23

15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit[a] of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Once I played Mr Bumble in the play, ‘Oliver’. In that famous play, Oliver, who having eaten all his gruel had the shamelessness to ask for “more!!”

You see, it was not acceptable for Oliver to ask for more in in Charles Dicken’s time. The barest enough gruel was all that was to be given to him by the cruel owners of the orphanage. He was to be given just enough to survive. Have we ever asked ourselves if perhaps, if we are really honest with ourselves, we are happy to expect the same from God our Father? Just enough to get us into heaven, for which we are thankful, but for a range of our own personal reasons we stay safe and don’t ask for more – keeping all that God has for us at arm’s length, in case there is a cost to asking the question, “Please Sir! Please can I have some more?”

Maybe it’s that myth of self-sufficiency – I would never ask God for anything because I have all I need. The Rich farmer who built more barns in Luke 12:13-21

Or, perhaps it’s our pride – I do not want to rely on anyone – What I have I worked for. I’m happy to give but I never ask anyone for anything. I do it all myself. Like in the story of the wedding banquet Matt 22:1-14

Perhaps it’s fear – If I ask God for more of Him in my life God might answer me and send me to do something that means my life would be different and I would have to do something I don’t want to do. Jonah’s story.

The again it maybe my love of the distractions and toys that I have in m life, and asking for more of Him in my daily life might mean I have to lose them, and I just can’t let them go. The Rich man in Matt 19:21.

These are common reasons why we don’t ask or pray, “God, let there be more of you in my life.”

Today’s reading from the book of Ephesians points us too ‘more’. It also reminds us of the power of prayer and the hope that we have in Christ Jesus.

I want to talk to you today about being called to ‘more’. More than what, you might ask? More than just going through the motions, more than just living for ourselves, and more than just existing day to day. We have been called to something greater, something bigger than ourselves. And in our reading today from the book of Ephesians, we see Paul praying for the Ephesians to have wisdom and revelation to understand what that something is.

So what are those ‘somethings?

Paul is praying that the Ephesians would have spiritual eyes to see and understand the hope to which they have been called. He wants them to understand the incredible power of God that is available to them through their faith in Christ. And he wants them to realize the incredible inheritance that is theirs as children of God.

But the thing is, Paul’s prayer here in this text is not just for the Ephesians. It’s for us too. We too have been called to something more than just going through the motions. We have been called to a life of purpose and meaning, a life that is full of the power and glory of God.

As we reflect on this passage, we are reminded of the importance of prayer in our lives as Christians. Just as Paul prayed for the Ephesians, we too are encouraged to pray for one another, asking God to grant us wisdom and understanding so that we may know Him more deeply. We can also remember to give thanks to God for the faith and love of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Prayer is something both exampled by Paul in this text as he prays for his church in Ephesus and encouraged by him to learn more about God. Prayer is one of God’s many gifts to us. It is a means to access God’s grace and a fundamental skill for mature Christians to exercise. It takes practice and persistence, both personally and together when we gather at table, as well as when we are together with each other in worship.

Martin Luther once wrote,

“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”

Luther recognized the vital importance of prayer in the life of a believer. Prayer is our means of communicating with God, and it allows us to express our thankfulness, ask for forgiveness, and seek guidance and wisdom.

Furthermore, this passage from Ephesians reminds us of the great power of Christ. He is above all rule, authority, and power, and His name is exalted above every other name. As believers, we are part of His body, and we have been called to share in His victory over sin and death. In Christ, we have hope and a glorious inheritance that awaits us in heaven.

WOW! That’s a lot to consider!

In Colossians 1:18, Paul writes, “And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.” This verse echoes the sentiments expressed in Ephesians, reminding us that Christ is the head of the Church, and we are His body. It is through Him that we are made alive, and it is through Him that we have been given hope and a future.

God is calling us to be a people of prayer, asking Him to grant us wisdom and understanding so that we may know Him more deeply. We can also give thanks for our brothers and sisters in Christ and the faith and love they demonstrate. Let’s ensure that we give His love back to those around us and seek His to help us do this better. And let us hold fast to the hope we have in Christ, knowing that He is above all and that His power is immeasurable.

Who remembers the, “But Wait! There’s more!!” ads on TV? You also get a free set of steak knives…!!!

The Father has promised us more than just a mark on us at our baptism and His presence with us in Communion. He wants to give us more than just showing up on Sundays here in worship!! He has promised us so much more. Way more than just a rubbishy set of steak knives promised in those ads. He has a life full of hope for us to share together in. He wants to share not only a feast one day in heaven, but also a feast of His richest here as we complete His mission for the community around us on earth. He wants to walk the journey with us, to walk in the cool of the garden, as we did once with Him in the beginning.

Remember the story Jesus told of the banquet and how a King sent out His servants to His invited guests, but they made various excuses and could not come. So, he sent them out a second time and still they would not come. So again, he sent His servants to the streets, the highways and byways to bring them in as the feast was ready.

I think like the invited guests in the parable we are being reminded of this call to the wedding banquet. We are invited! Are we going? There is so much more that He has for us.  Are we making excuses to learning more from Him? Or are we like Oliver in the play; bold enough to ask Him for more?

Are you hungry for more? If you are God’s word also tells us in Matthew 7 – Ask and you shall receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you!

This August St Petri is holding its SALA arts festival with the theme ‘Come to the Banquet’. This theme reminds us we are all being invited to the feast of the King. He wants to give us more!

How will you respond? Given the hope we all have in Christ are you prepared to ask for more?

Are you willing to risk asking? Are you bold enough to ask, “Please Father can I have some more?”

I pray that as you have faith in the Lord Jesus and love for all God’s people I give thanks for you. I also pray that the glorious Father may give you His Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. Amen.